Senior
Hydrogeologist
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Deborah Thomas

Job title: Senior Hydrologist

What does a Hydrologist do? 

Hydrogeologists can work in a variety of different areas, however, each one relates directly to the basis of hydrogeology and the study of the movement of groundwater through the soil and rock beneath our feet. The work of a hydrogeologist can be field, or office based, and may range from working within contaminated land, water resources, working in industry or academic research. Daily work typically includes a mixture of mathematical assessments, analytical modelling, project management, field testing and data analysis.

What qualifications and previous work experience did you need to get your job? 

I obtained a BSc in Geology from the University of Leicester, where I focussed my final two years towards more applied geology. Following this, I completed a MSc in Hydrogeology at the University of Birmingham.

Between my two degrees I spent 4 months working at a large multi-disciplinary consultancy in the hydrogeology team, where I gained valuable experience working as a consultant Hydrogeologist.

Apart from these qualifications what other skills or characteristics do you need in your job?

Like most geologists, you need to have a real passion for the outdoors, an inquisitive mind, and the ability to work well in a team. As a consultant Hydrogeologist, one of the main skills required is the ability to prioritise and organise yourself as you are frequently working on numerous projects at one time, each with separate deadlines and requirements. Being an effective and confident communicator is really useful as is the ability to adapt to varied working styles and environments.

What sort of organisation do you work for? Where else could you work as a Hydrogeologist?

I work as a Senior Hydrogeologist at a consultancy called Envireau Water, formed of expert geologists, hydrogeologists, water scientists and engineers. At Envireau Water, I specialise in water resources and work particularly within the quarrying industry.

There are numerous consultancies of various sizes where you can work as a Hydrogeologist in the UK. However, opportunities to work as a Hydrogeologist are also present within industry, academic research, regulatory systems, charity based positions and various industries such as water utilities, water resources and energy.

As a Hydrogeologist, you can work both in the UK and overseas. If you are keen for overseas work, a second language is always useful.

What do you enjoy about your job?

My favourite part of working as a Hydrogeologist is the variety of work. I also enjoy that my job is flexible between field and office work, so I don’t get too bogged down in the office for weeks on end. The satisfaction of progressing through a project and getting it to a positive outcome is the most satisfying part of the job.

What opportunities do you have to develop your skills in your job?

At Envireau Water we undertake targeted in house and external training to ensure we are receiving the best professional development. This includes technical, project management and health and safety training. I also regularly attend events, such as those held by the Hydrogeology Group of the Geological Society of London in order to keep up to date with recent technological developments. There is also a lot of training on the job as on a weekly basis we come across something new to learn about!

What advice or extra information do you wish you’d had before starting this career?

Most people in the industry are keep to help if they can, so give it a go! Get in touch with people; introduce yourself, seek their advice. Find a company that supports you. Don’t feel put down if things don’t work out right away, keep trying. Take advantage of any opportunity passed to you, most of the skills you learn early on are useful in the long run. And if it all goes wrong, you will always learn from your mistakes! Finally, try and do what you are interested in. If you are interested, you care more, and the more you care the better your career will progress.